Government secrecy surrounding illegal immigrant minors

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 5, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "The Factor" Segment tonight. As you may know, it estimated that close to 100,000 children, mainly from Central America will illegally cross into the U.S.A, by the end of this Fiscal year. That humanitarian crisis has been well-documented in the news.

And, the Federal Government is sending many of the children to various parts of the U.S.A. But, when Fox News and other agencies asked the Department of Health and Human Services, "Where the kids were going?" We were stonewalled. Joining us now from Washington, Investigative Journalist, Sharyl Attkinson, who is also working on the story. So, what did you find out, Sharyl?

SHARYL ATTKINSON, CBS INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST CORRESPONDENT: I asked the same questions and I too was told that they would not engage in a discussion about it. They are using the government illegitimate reasons to withhold obviously public information that directly impact the public in many ways, and they are even withholding it from congress.

They say they cannot give out this private confidential information about minors. Nobody is asking for that. They are giving an answer to a question that was never asked. We simply want to know the general locations of the shelters to which these tens of thousands of minors are being placed.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, again, it is the Department of Health and Human Services, which is in charge of, I guess, seeing that the children are cared for. It is not Homeland Security.

Once you get by the border, Homeland Security hands it off to H.H.S. And, H.H.S., basically is saying, "Look, we are not going to tell the press what we are doing, how we are doing it or where the kids are going. We are not giving you any information."

That is what they do in China. That is what they do in Russia. It is not what they do in the U.S.A. Now, here is why they are doing it, Sharyl and I think you know that. Murrieta, California. Remember? Remember, what happened there?

ATTKINSON: Yes. There were protests and people of the community actually had an impact on whether or not the children were placed in shelters there. I think that it is one thing the government is trying to avoid, once again.

O'REILLY: That is right.

ATTKINSON: I think it is unlawful under freedom of information and public information law. But, look at it at this way as well. Congress is also completely unable to do its job of watch dogging these contracts with hundreds of millions of dollars being issued to various non profits and other companies to take care of the kids.

In one case according to Senator Charles Grassley, a contract was being considered to convert a Texas Hotel at cost the $166,000 per year per child. And, he did not receive answers from H.H.S. on that question. How can congress do its job of oversight on these important contracts that are paid for with tax dollars if they cannot even get basic information?

O'REILLY: Yes. Nobody knows where they are going or who is taking care of them and all of that. But, again, they are not putting it out, because they do not want uprising like you saw in Murrieta, California to go around the country and to have the news agencies put it on television. And, this has got to come from the very top.

The Department of Health and Human Services does not make these decisions. I mean this is like Kerry and press spokesperson. They did not go out and say I was a sexist without checking with Kerry. He had to check with him. And the Health and Human Services did not say to you and to me we are not telling you where the kids are without checking with the White House. They have to do that.

And, the reason they are doing that is they do not want the bad PR. But, it becomes a scandal. It becomes a scandal because you have -- well, let us say hundreds of millions of dollars that is going to be spent, as you pointed out, to try to care for these children. All right? So, you have got 100,000 kids. If it is 1,000 -- it is $100,000 is way more than that.

So, we are into a lot of money and continuing basis and then the local communities, they do not know. I mean it is impacting them all over the place. We heard the Governor of Massachusetts say when some of the children arrived in the bay said, I did not know they were coming. So, this is, I think, a tremendous usurping of power by the Federal Government.

ATTKINSON: I think if you look at it this way, too. It is an outrage they are basically conferring more rights on the people, who are in this country illegally than they are conferring on the citizens, who are here being forced to pay for the decisions of that the government makes. And, that is quite an irony and I think it is improper.

O'REILLY: But, the government does have leeway in what it spends money on. However, it is violating states' rights by not informing the states that the kids are coming on in. And, I think most Americans are compassionate. You know, if they do it the right way, I do not think that there would be - - Murrieta, it was an interesting situation because it is close to the border that it impacted, but I could be wrong about that. But, the bottom line is that you cannot find out "The Factor" and Fox News cannot find out. Are you going to file freedom of information act on it?

ATTKINSON: I am thinking about that of course, they know that they can still obfuscate and delay a freedom of information request. They pay to defend any lawsuit on that with your tax dollars. So, there is no disincentive for them to not withhold the information, and they routinely do this.

I want to point out that we did interview some immigration advocates for the illegal immigration advocates for the peace, I did for Sinclair T.V. And, even a lead immigration advocate said, the communities deserve to know this information if they want to know it.


ATTKINSON: So, I think that is quite telling.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. All right, Sharyl, thanks again.

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